Once every now and again, something happens that is out of the blue and becomes memorable, mostly because no-one can ever remember anyone doing it before. The recent resignation of the Pope certainly came into that category. A resignation is rarely an unusual event in most circles but when 500 years or more have passed since the previous such renunciation, it is fair to say that it was big news. Pope Benedict XVI is leaving his job, or as he most eloquently put it,
“… well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant”
Delivered in Latin, this was a part of the gracious and dignified valedictory speech that the Pontiff delivered to a hushed and adoring public in one of the most elegant and awe-inspiring surroundings created by man.
Sadly, in other walks of life, such departures from office have occasionally been a little more, well, abrupt and outlandish. It would be good to imagine the Pope choosing one of the following methods for his announcement to the world but these are probably best left to the Room 101 of resignations.
Consider the parting shot of one Joey DeFrancesco who signalled the end of his three year period of employment in room service at an American hotel by handing in his letter of resignation to his boss before a marching band escorted and serenaded him loudly and proudly out of the building and into the world of You Tube fame! Absolutely priceless!
Then there was the shipyard worker who wrote his resignation in icing on a giant cake which included the line “Please accept this cake as notification that I am leaving my position” Surely a first!
Let’s not forget either the air steward who was so infuriated with the persistent hassle from passengers on a flight that he uttered a four letter expletive, cracked open a can of beer and then proceeded to exit the aircraft and his job by activating the emergency shute and majestically sliding down it to the ground., shouting “That’s it – I’m done!”
Who’d be an employer? You sometimes either have to translate Latin, eat cake or repair your aircraft if a staff member leaves your employment. We exclude the marching band idea which in anybody’s language is more to be admired than criticised.
The bottom line for employers however is to ensure that the end of the employment is what both parties wish the eventual outcome to be. So,
- Beware of resignations in the heat of the moment. A statement of “That’s it – I’m done! “ may not necessarily be a resignation. Refusal to allow an employee to return to work when the dust has settled can turn a resignation into a dismissal with all of the inevitable adverse consequences
- Always ask for and obtain written confirmation of any resignation
- Always respond in writing, confirming the last day of working and the last day of employment
- Remember to address the question of the employee’s notice period and when it starts and when employment ends. The last day worked may not be the same as the date when the employment effectively ends
- Always confirm what monies will be paid to the employee in relation to their notice period. The question of any pay in lieu of notice must be addressed unambiguously in writing.
- If garden leave is put in place, give clear written clarification of all aspects of this arrangement.
Qdos will be pleased to help with all aspects of notice periods and responses to resignations.
Contrary to rumours that have been circulating, the white smoke emanating from the rear of the Qdos office is caused by steam from the combi boiler in the ladies toilets and is in no way linked to the election of the next Pope. However, if any cardinals are in need of some recruitment advice, then please call and ask for assistance, although preferably not in Latin. Amen.
If you need help with your employment law issues please contact us.